Better Start Founder & President named to Little Rock Mayor's Transition Education Committee

On Friday, Jan. 25, the transition board for Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. announced the names of individuals who will participate in subcommittees to develop recommendations to the Scott administration. More than five hundred people submitted applications for positions on eight subcommittees. Selection criteria included: demonstrable experience related to subcommittee subject matter; detailed explanation of qualifications and desire to serve; diversity presented (socio-economic, race, gender, disability status, age, etc.); and city ward representation.  

Subcommittee chairmen, transition board member and members are:


Education: Sen. Joyce Elliott, Chairman, and John Rutledge

Amy Benton

Ryan Davis

Bill Dillard

Aminah Eddings

Chris Hancock

Andrea Lewis

Raymond Long

Stacy McAdoo

Lara Blume McGee

Melissa Mitchell

Ali Noland

Vicki Saviers

Emma Willis

Laveta Wills-Hale

Better Start Foundation Visits Fox 16 Studios

KLRT Good Day

Better Start Foundation

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  • Posted: Mar 05, 2019 08:23 AM CST
  • Updated: Mar 05, 2019 08:23 AM CST

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS. -A Little Rock native wants to give children who face adversity the GREEN LIGHT TO BE GREAT.

Better Start Foundation is that green light to be great for children and youth living in low-income communities. Better Start Foundation offers a personalized youth development model with a promise to connect children with everything they need to succeed in school, career, and life. The foundation makes an 11-year commitment to the child that starts in the 2nd grade and transitions into an Alumni program upon high school graduation.

We develop the whole child significantly increasing their chances of reaching their full potential. We want people to join us in creating more rags to riches stories here in Arkansas.

Better Start Foundations plans to get things started this summer by hosting several youth development seminars at the Sue Cowan Williams Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, and then launch a pilot site in the Little Rock School District of its program in the fall of 2019.

Better Start Foundation is calling on the community at large to help support this cause by becoming a monthly donor. To become apart of the green light movement contact Raymond Omar Long at raymond.long@betterstartfoundation.org and tune in to our social media pages for updates

Better Start Foundation Commits to Long Term Growth by starting Charitable Fund at Arkansas Community Foundation.

Better Start Foundation is youth development foundation that offers holistic youth development to children living low socioeconomic communities.

The foundation’s mission is to connect people, cultivate resources, and create solutions that ignite the upward social mobility of children and youth.

Arkansas Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that promotes smart giving to improve communities. The Community Foundation offers tools to help Arkansans protect, grow and direct their charitable dollars as they learn more about community needs. By making grants and sharing knowledge, the Community Foundation supports charitable programs that work for Arkansas and partners to create new initiatives that address the gaps. Since 1976, the Community Foundation has provided more than $156 million in grants and partnered with thousands of Arkansans to help them improve our neighborhoods, our towns and our entire state.

“As Better Start Foundation sets up its infrastructure to become one of the most financially thriving nonprofits in Arkansas this collaboration made sense. Collaboration is one of our core values at BSF which is why we set this fund up so that Arkansas philanthropists who are passionate about youth development can send their philanthropic dollars to a trusted source. Our charitable fund also makes giving a seamless process for those who already have charitable funds set up at Arkansas Community Foundation. Donors can request inter-transfers to the Better Start Foundation fund. We also value the knowledge that Arkansas Community Foundation provides which makes our nonprofit more intelligent stewards of funds the community trust us with."

Raymond Long Founder + President.


WHY BETTER START FOUNDATION?

MIKE'S LEATHErBoots.png

A poet posed this question. What's a dream deferred?

Sitting at a call center in my cubicle feeling trapped in mediocrity. Filled with aspirations and ideas that could change the world, but as my next call was auto-answered I was reminded of my reality.

The unfiltered truth was I hated life, because I knew I was supposed to be doing something... SIGNIFICANT. Everyday I would reflect on my on my previous mindset, and decision making.  “How did I get here?” When did answering phones for a salary that, yes kept me out of absolute poverty but only ushered me into a life of quiet desperation living in relative poverty, become an option?When exactly did I stop pursuing the BIG dreams and passions of my childhood?

After much self discovery I realized once again my potential. Visionary. Philanthropist. Chief Executive Officer. Social Entrepreneur. These titles were symbolic of callings deep within me, but as another call was auto-answered, it was clear my life’s trajectory was not trending upward at the pace I desired or needed it to, in order to make these dream titles my reality.


I wished for a BETTER START. Yall I needed a Better Start.  A better start with a better perspective on the importance of education. A better start with a better understanding of how to use and grow money. A better start with more exposure to future career possibilities that were connected to my passions and skill sets. A better start where I understood myself and others intimately to become the great leader it requires to foster the change I want in the world.


My quest for upward social mobility sent me on a reading binge. During this binge, I read self-help books like Lisa Nichols, Abundant Life, Steve Harvey’s, Act Like a Success Think Like a Success, & Napoleon Hill’s, Think and Grow Rich. These books inspired me to take action, and I came away with a new life slogan. A slogan that makes lifelong learning a necessity. A slogan that makes action a priority.  


I WANT TO BE GREAT TOO.


I decided at all cost to start playing big in life, but the first step was to recognize and accept my opportunities for development. Academically I was unproven, socially I was awkward, and financially I was illiterate.

My next step was to understand my past to pinpoint why I had arrived into adulthood as this person. After years of gathering information and self-discovery I realized my struggle with upward social mobility as an adult was connected to my child and youth development.

I came away with an in-depth understanding of my own path which will greatly aid me in the work I’ve committed my talents to now, via the Better Start Foundation.

I now understand the odds children like me are up against, being born into families with low socioeconomic status- which increases their likelihood of adverse childhood experiences. This better start I envision now, would had propelled me and will drive the children Better Start Foundation will serve to earlier paths of greatness.

I am determined to give children, with similar upbringings as me, access to people, resources, and solutions to ignite their upward social mobility so in 2016 I decided to start the Better Start Foundation, a children's  foundation, whose mission is to engage people, connect resources, and inspire solutions to ignite the upward social mobility of children and youth.

There are one too many low skill/low wage workers who have the potential and intellect to pursue their passions and play big in life but are caught up in a vicious cycle of working for basic survival that it becomes close to impossible to pursue their dreams.

There is a cashier clocking in today who could be a CEO. A single mother making the most of public housing when she could be a property owner. There is also an inmate waking up in a cell, who could have been a great politician.

The disparity between children growing up in different social classes is unsettling to me and Better Start Foundation is here to change that.  There are thousands of children who will grow up with the disadvantages of low socioecnomic status and without these disadvantages being intentionally combatted through holistic child and youth development they will, like I once was, wake up daily as an adult frustrated with the direction and status of their lives.

Depleted financially, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally, with no understanding of what to do to improve these areas can leave a very helpless feeling. The depression, anger, and confusion sets in and because of inadequate mental and physiological coping mechanisms most face challenges to build social and professional support networks, in completing higher education, and avoiding life decisions that further promote the low socioeconomic status that plagued us at birth.

So then one day we find ourselves doing work that disrespects our intellect when what we needed all along was.....

THE GREEN LIGHT TO BE GREAT.

My belief is that young people, no matter where they come from, can pursue their passions,be successful, and help build stronger, wealthier communities.


My vision for Better Start Foundation is to ensure that every child enters adulthood prepared to reach their life’s full potential.

Better Start Foundation is preparing for take off, and infrastructure will be set up beginning with the end in mind. It's being designed to exist 100 years from now.

The vision is a great one, but without the help of people like you, who have interest in impacting the lives of children living in communities where there is untapped potential... the vision will be impossible to realize.

A poet poised the question?  

So What happens to a dream deferred? Maybe it sags like a heavy load

Or does it explode?

Join BSF and be a green light for greatness, for children and youth.

Here are four ways you can get involved and help right now:

  • Join our green list for exclusive access to child/ youth development content and behind the scenes access to the Better Start Foundation journey

  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

  • Share, retweet, and heart our social media posts and engage in our discussions to further promote the better start discussion

  • Visit our website & share it on your social media